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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Reviewed/Revised Apr 2023
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What is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)?

PID is an infection in your uterus (womb), in the tubes that connect your ovaries with your uterus (fallopian tubes), or in both. PID can also spread to your ovaries (the sex organs that hold your eggs) and your bloodstream.

What causes PID?

What are the symptoms of PID?

Early symptoms of PID

Later symptoms of PID

  • Very bad lower belly pain

  • A fever (usually below 102° F [38.9° C] but can go higher)

  • Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up

  • Vaginal discharge that’s yellow-green or like pus

  • Pain during sex or when urinating (peeing)

Symptoms that happen toward the end of your monthly period or during the few days after your period ends are suggestive of PID. PID can be severe yet cause mild or no symptoms.

Can PID cause other problems?

Yes. The infection in PID can spread around the inside of your belly and around your liver. Sometimes a pocket of pus (abscess) forms in your fallopian tubes.

PID can cause scar tissue to form in your fallopian tubes. This scar tissue can prevent you from getting pregnant. If scar tissue forms inside your belly (adhesions), your intestines may get caught in the scar tissue and twisted shut (intestinal obstruction Intestinal Obstruction You have a small intestine and a large intestine. The small intestine is a long coiled tube that connects your stomach to your large intestine. The large intestine is shorter but wider and leads... read more ).

Also, if you have had PID and do get pregnant, you're much more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy Ectopic Pregnancy An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg attaches in the wrong place, such as in the fallopian tubes An ectopic pregnancy does not result in a baby being born If not diagnosed and treated... read more . In an ectopic pregnancy, your baby grows outside of your uterus. If your baby grows in one of your fallopian tubes instead of your uterus, after a few weeks, the growing baby makes the tube split open. The baby will die, and the tube may bleed so much that you could die.

How can my doctor tell if I have PID?

The doctor will ask you questions and will usually do a pelvic exam. During a pelvic exam, your doctor looks inside your vagina, holding it open with a small instrument called a speculum. Your doctor may:

  • Take a sample of fluid from your cervix using a cotton swab to test it for gonorrhea and chlamydia

  • Order a blood test

How will my doctor treat PID?

Because STIs (gonorrhea and chlamydia) are the most likely cause of PID, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat those STIs. You'll usually get a single shot and then take antibiotics by mouth at home for several weeks. If you don't start getting better within 48 hours, you may need to go to the hospital. You may be treated in the hospital right away if:

  • You have severe symptoms or a high fever

  • You have an abscess in your fallopian tubes

  • You're throwing up and can't take medicine by mouth

If you're taking medicine to treat PID, don't have sex until these 2 things happen:

  • You're done taking your medicine

  • Your doctor says the infection is gone

How can I prevent PID?

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